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The Making of Korean Christianity

Protestant Encounters with Korean Religions, 1876-1915

Sung-Deuk Oak

Publication Year: 2013

A major catalyst for the growth of Korean Christianity occurred at the turn of the twentieth century when Western missionaries encountered the religious landscape of Korea. These first-generation missionaries have been framed as destroyers of Korean religion and culture. Yet, as Sung-Deuk Oak shows in The Making of Korean Christianity, existing Korean religious tradition also impacted the growth and character of evangelical Christianity. The melding of indigenous Korean religions and Christianity led to a highly localized Korean Christianity that flourished in the early modern era. The Making of Korean Christianity sorts fact from myth in this exhaustive examination of the local and global forces that shaped Christianity on the Korean Peninsula.

Published by: Baylor University Press

Series: Studies in World Christianity

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi

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Series Foreword

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pp. vii-viii

It used to be that those of us from the global North who study world Christianity had to work hard to make the case for its relevance. Why should thoughtful people learn more about Christianity in places far away from Europe and North America? The Christian religion, many have heard by now, has more than sixty percent of its adherents living...


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pp. ix-x

Illustrations, Tables, Diagrams,and Maps

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pp. xi-xiv

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xxii

Korean Protestant Christianity has been known for two things: rapid growth and conservative theological orientation. American evangelicalism has been regarded as a driving force to that effect since the arrival of the first medical missionary to Korea, Horace N. Allen (1858–1932), in 1884, during Japanese colonial rule in 1910–1945, and in the postwar period of the North–South division since 1953. Already by 1900 ...


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pp. xxiii-xxvi

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pp. 1-32

On Easter Sunday afternoon, April 5, 1885, Henry Gerhard Appenzeller (1858–1902), the first American Methodist clerical missionary to Korea, arrived at Chemulpo, a small open port to Seoul, with his pregnant wife and the first Presbyterian clerical missionary, Horace Grant Underwood (1859–1917). Appenzeller believed that he had landed “upon...

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— 1 —God

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pp. 33-84

The idea of a monotheistic God was one of the most important new elements that Christianity introduced into modern Korean religious culture. It prohibited the worship of all other existing gods and spirits and put the supremacy of God over all other authorities, including political and familial authorities. Thus, it was very difficult for Koreans, who had lived in an agnostic or polytheistic culture, to accept monotheism ...

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— 2 —Saviors

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pp. 85-140

Why were numerous people wandering deep into the mountains to find an imagined holy land in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Korea? What was the sipsŭngjiji, ten auspicious places, of the Chŏnggamnok (鄭鑑錄 The Record of Chŏng Kam)? Was there any relationship between the explosive growth of Protestantism from 1894 to 1910 and the prophecy of the Chŏnggam-nok? This chapter aims to connect the...

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— 3 —Spirits

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pp. 141-188

In his English-Korean Dictionary printed in 1890, Horace G. Underwood, the first American clerical missionary to Korea, defined a “witch” as ...

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— 4 —Ancestors

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pp. 189-220

In the issue of ancestor veneration, most historiography has depicted Korean Protestantism as having adopted a policy of strict prohibition instead of tolerance and enculturation. Although in the late 1930s, the majority of the Protestant churches accepted Shinto shrine worship not as a religious but as a civic ceremony, under the pressure of the Japanese ...

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— 5 —Messages

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pp. 221-270

The advent of the modern Protestant mission era coincided with an explosion in Bible translation and vernacular Christian literature. In the nineteenth century, the Bible was translated into an additional 446 languages, compared to 74 in the previous eighteen centuries. In Asia, the translated vernacular Scriptures appeared in India, Pakistan, ...

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— 6 —Rituals

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pp. 271-304

During the Great Revival Movement (hereafter GRM) of 1903– 1908, indigenous Christian rituals and spirituality developed within Korean Protestantism, and a group of Korean leaders emerged. Repented, reconciled, spirit-filled, and empowered Korean Christians participated in nationwide evangelistic, educational, and enlightenment movements...

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pp. 305-316

World Christianity has migrated across cultural, ethnic, national, and religious boundaries. A study of the nativization of Protestant Christianity in Korea at the turn of the twentieth century must consider not only the transpacific transmission of Anglo-American Christianity, but also the trans–Yellow Sea and trans–Yalu River diffusion of Sinicized ...


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pp. 317-336


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pp. 337-346


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pp. 347-396


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pp. 397-411

E-ISBN-13: 9781602585775
E-ISBN-10: 1602585776
Print-ISBN-13: 9781602585751
Print-ISBN-10: 160258575X

Page Count: 437
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Studies in World Christianity